Israeli Medical Researchers at Sheba Medical Center are testing a method that may allow them to earlier detect signs of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by looking into the eyes of patients. The Israeli researchers at Sheba Medical Center are using a one-of-a-kind retinal amyloid-beta (A-B) imaging technology to enable them to use advanced imaging technology to better observe retinal health. As the retina is directly accessible to the brain, the A-B imaging technology allows researchers to look through the retina to have a better idea of a patient’s brain health.
Further, amyloid beta is a protein fragment that is the “hallmark marker” of AD in the brain. It has been predicted that elevated levels of the protein fragment are present 10-20 years prior to the actual outward AD manifestations of cognitive decline. In light of this fact, the A-B imaging technology allows medical researchers to better observe retinal abnormalities as they relate to the size of retinal blood vessels and A-B deposits. To see how these factors may relate to AD, the researchers then compare them to “changes in cognitive function and brain structure that are common in people known to be at risk for Alzheimer’s.” While the study is still underway, if the imaging device proves to better predict AD, it will not only give patients more time to better prepare to combat the disease, but it will also give medical researchers the opportunity to test more AD treatments earlier on before outward symptoms manifest.
Interestingly, as Israeli medical researchers are making strides in the pursuit of earlier AD detection, Texas medical institutions are also teaming up in the fight against this disease. The Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium (TARCC) is comprised of 7 major Texas Medical Research Centers such as Baylor College of Medicine and the UT Health Science Center. The TARCC has the goal of, “establishing a comprehensive research cohort of well characterized subjects to address better diagnosis, treatment, and ultimately prevention of AD.” In recognition of their shared goals and of Texas’ pro-Israel stance, researchers from both states should consider collaborating in order to have the best intellectual capital and financial aid possible to discover and design effective methods to best fight the debilitating disease of Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s Research in Detail on the Sheba Medical Center Site: http://www.friendsofsheba.org/ways-to-give/current-campaigns/alzheimers-research/
Article Detailing this potential breakthrough and its implications: http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-researchers-look-into-eyes-for-early-signs-of-alzheimers/
Info. Over the TARCC: http://www.txalzresearch.org/about-tarcc/
Quote #2: http://www.txalzresearch.org/about-tarcc/